Rock Fest returns with ‘Steal The Sky’ indoors

By Julia Train

The roar of music and students excitedly chattering filled the Student Recreation Center courts.

Rider Rock Fest, an annual “Welcome Week” tradition that is loved by the community and known for bringing live music to campus, is usually held in the Ben Cohen Field parking lot. 

Food trucks, inflatables and crafts are brought into the area, giving the event the vibe of a block party and concert at the same time.

Although the time of year and outdoor location have varied in the past six years since the first event, the show was moved indoors “due to the uncertain weather,” which turned out to be a clear sky.

The final rain call was made by Nick Barbati, assistant vice president for student affairs, and the notification of the switch was sent out to the student body via email Friday morning. 

“We had a plan in place [for if] we moved inside, but it was mostly communicating how it was really going to work inside,” said Emily O’Connor, the live entertainment chair of the Student Entertainment Council and sophomore arts entertainment industries management major. “We have Wednesday meetings and it was brought up that it might be brought inside because of the impending weather.” 

O’Connor’s job within the SEC is planning live entertainment events with entertainers, such as comedians, musicians and illusionists that come to Rider.

By the time the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., students were lined from the SRC court entryway to the Alumni Gym court doors, eager to receive free T-shirts that were given to the first 300 people. 

When the students were allowed in, they rushed past campus safety officers as they asked to see their Rider IDs. 

A handful of students left directly after they obtained their free swag, while others stayed to take a look around.

After hustling past the SEC members handing out the white T-shirts, event goers were greeted with the pounding bass of the music.

 In the SRC, there were inflatable games, henna tattoos, caricature artists and a wax hand mold station.

In front of the wall opposite of the Schimek Family Fitness Center​, Steal the Sky performed their covers on a stage for their third time at the annual event.

Outside of the SRC, four food trucks lined the curb: “Yooo Cuz” served chicken tenders and fries,  “Mister Softee” gave out ice cream cones, “La Coqueta” distributed tacos and “Empanada Guy” dished out its namesake.

Students were seen chatting, enjoying their food and taking photos, but some couldn’t help but notice how much the event’s different location impacted Rock Fest. 

“It just felt better being outside because it was more open. You could just run around and inside it just feels so weird, ” said Grace Ramsey, a senior information systems major. 

Ramsey and her friend Jamie Kuminski, a junior behavioral neuroscience major, both liked it better when it was fully outside.  

“There’s no drinks anywhere. I was so thirsty. Last year, there was free Monster and more free stuff,” said Ramsey.

The year prior, there were coolers with water and sodas located around the parking lot, but this year, the cooler with water bottles didn’t show up until later. 

“I heard there were less shirts this year too,” Kuminski noted. 

Usually concluding with a fireworks display, the event finished with the band.

View the photo gallery for Rock Fest here.

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